BY LEANN DILBECK –
The Arkansas Regional Coalition of the Ouachitas (ARCO) met last week with representatives from its three counties, Polk, Scott, and Montgomery. Charettes had been conducted in each of the three counties and presented to each county individually but last week’s meeting presented the results of all three jointly, revealing an enormous hidden/under-developed potential for tourism in the region.
Before the almost 40 in attendance saw the presentation, members approved the addition of two new board members, Derwood Brett and John Vacca.
Vacca then reported on a two-day three-city tour in northern Arkansas in that ARCO members attended in November 2012. Presenting the highlights of what they learned from a number of communities and speakers, Vacca said they were encouraged to not be discouraged by “push-back.” Harrison, Ark., which has been tremendously successfully with their downtown revitalization explained that their efforts will not always be met with enthusiasm. They also learned about the importance of grants from Leslie, Ark., which in Vacca’s words, “is located in the middle of nowhere.” A town of just 441 people had received a total of $600,000 from a variety of institutions. Members noted that the Rural Community Alliance could be a very beneficial resource in finding and securing those grants.
Trey Clark presented a $2,500 check on behalf of the Walton Family Foundation for the Partners for the Future initiative. To find out more, check out www.ARCOStrong.org.